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Five questions to ask yourself before choosing a college

Young woman, and on chin, looking up to left, question marks on chalkboard, wondering.

When I graduated from high school, I wanted to go to college. I didn't think much about my choices. I knew I wanted to further my education, so I chose the college near where I lived.

Now that I think back on it, I know I was lucky. Fortunately, the university (it was the University of Delaware, by the way) was a great fit. It is a great university, and I really treasure my experience there and the life-long friends I made while attending college.

You could be lucky and land at the right school without thinking about it too much. But why push your luck? With all the choices and opportunities for future college students today and the huge investment of time and money, it's wise to find a school that is a good fit. So how do you do that? Ask yourself these questions and the answers will help you select your school.

  1. What programs are offered by the school? If you have selected or are thinking about your major, can you obtain the degree you want at that school?
  2. What is the school's reputation and ranking? Is it accredited? Your school choice may help you the most when you first graduate and don't have a lot of work experience.
  3. How much does the school cost? Let's face it, money is an issue. If you or your parents just don't have the money to attend the school without going into mountains of debt, you may want to reconsider and look at other options for higher education.
  4. Where is the school located? If the school is located far away from family and friends, will that be an issue for you if you can't make it home but a couple of times a year? At first, it will be exciting to be away at college, but when the homesickness hits, will you be able to manage it? Or will you need to be closer so you can go home for a weekend during the semester?
  5. Do I know anyone who has graduated from the school? Ask a graduate of the school about their experience — what they liked or didn't like about the school. Some of their opinions will strike a chord with you, or maybe what was important to them may not be important to you. But listen to their experiences and whether they have fond memories of their college experience.

I should have asked myself some of these questions before selecting the college I wanted to attend. While I would have probably come to the same conclusion, it would have been reassurance if I ever felt out of place or worried that I had made the wrong choice.

Go Blue Hens!